Learn more about Charles Avery, influential community member of Williamson County

In 2015, Charles Avery and his family received the Greater Round Rock Community Foundation Innovation in Philanthropy Award at the Round Rock Chamber's annual awards banquet. n

In 2015, Charles Avery and his family received the Greater Round Rock Community Foundation Innovation in Philanthropy Award at the Round Rock Chamber's annual awards banquet. n

It would be hard to imagine what Williamson County would be like without the charitable contributions of the Avery family. Round Rock's Charles Avery credits the example of his parents as a reason for his service to the community.


The descendants of Swedish immigrants, the Avery family is known for their work in philanthropy. His parents, Charles N. Avery Jr. and Lucille Sharp Avery, served as examples for Avery and his three siblings.


“My dad was an interesting fellow. He always tried to provide help when he could,” Avery said. “He was a lawyer and people complained he worked too much pro bono, but he couldn’t pass up helping a widow or someone who needed help with a will. He was kind-hearted in that way.”


Avery’s father also worked as a lawyer for Seton, the hospital at which his mother served on a board.


“They were a good example for us,” Avery said.


Avery, along with his brothers and sister, have taken those lessons to heart. Today, each of the Avery siblings has his or her own charitable causes they support. Together, with their families, they have donated about 126 acres of family land to make way for the Avery Centre, a mixed-use development that houses the Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Texas State University and Austin Community College campuses, Seton Medical Center Williamson, Cornerstone Round Rock, and the San Gabriel Rehabilitation and Care Center. Nearby Hutto has also benefited from Avery land donations in the form of space for the East Williamson County Higher Education Center and public easements for roads.


In 2015, Avery and his siblings received the Greater Round Rock Community Foundation Innovation in Philanthropy Award.


“We don’t ask for those things, and that's not why we do it,” Avery said. “But a little recognition makes other people say, ‘We may not have much, but we have something.’ Everyone can play a role in helping somebody. Being stewards of what we’ve been given is important to us. We’re glad to be able to participate in that.”




Charles Avery Charles and his wife Beth enjoy spending time together outdoors.[/caption]

Avery and his wife, Beth, are particularly drawn to supporting education. He said one of his most-loved causes is Capital IDEA, a program that provides scholarships and guidance to motivated, non-traditional students.


“Capital IDEA gives hard-working, motivated people a chance to get a step up. It’s not a handout,” Avery said. “It’s hard if you have children and no spouse, working maybe two jobs and also a load of courses.”


One of his favorite moments in all of his years of philanthropy was to watch his Capital IDEA students graduate, he said. Another one of his most treasured memories is seeing the looks on the faces of people with special needs riding horses at the Ride On Center for Kids, a program he supports that allows people with disabilities to receive equine therapy.


“We’ve all been blessed in some way, whether it’s in time, talent or resources,” he said. “I think people just need to step out of their comfort zone and find a ministry or organization they enjoy.”


His nephew, Trip Fell, said Avery gets a lot of satisfaction from helping to empower people to make a difference in their own lives.


“He’s just always looking out for other people,” Fell said. “He’s the most giving and unselfish person I know. I look up to him as my personal hero. He always has the right motivation.”


The Averys have also visited India and countries in Africa as part of medical missions. Together they have a daughter who lives in Sacramento.


He is known for carrying around note cards with Bible verses in his pocket and handing them out to people he meets.


One of his favorite verses he often gives to people is Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


“You never know what someone’s going through,” he said. “Some people really appreciate and are comforted by it.”


This verse has been especially reassuring to Avery since he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer this spring, he said. He has taken a step back in much of his philanthropy to focus on his health.


“Since I was a child, he’s been my hero because he taught me how important it is to go to church on Sunday and to enjoy life,” Fell said. “That’s what he’s doing, even with this diagnosis. Every day the sun rises, he has an opportunity to do that.”


Avery said giving back to the community comes full-circle.


“There’s a joy in itself in serving others, I think," he said. “I know so.”



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